An hour into the journey we had our first flat. After checking both vehicles, we found that both of our spares were flat also. We were in the middle of nowhere, so Cody and Andrew took a car with 3 flats back to Kotido to get them patched up. The rest of us hung out on the side of the dusty road and played soccer, guitar, and talked. A few hours later we were on the move again with a good tire and two good spares. Thirty minutes after restarting our trip, another flat. This time, a quick change and little time was lost. We made it Nakaale, the halfway point of our journey and stayed the night there with our good friends at the Presbyterian Mission. The Wrights, Aukins, Tricaricos and Dr. Knox greeted us warmly, and we were happy to be there. Dr. Knox tested Israel for malaria and found out that he was positive. At this point Zion and Israel had malaria while among the Fulk kids Carter had malaria and Malachi had typhoid.
After a good night’s rest we set off the next morning, hoping to arrive in Kampala after 6 or 7 hrs. Three hours into our journey our car started to smoke, and as I pulled off the road, the engine locked up. I had filled up the radiator the day before, but it had gotten a leak somehow during our travels, and the engine had overheated. As many of you know, this car is familiar to problems. After two hours and the scariest tow truck ride we have ever been on, we made it to a trusted mechanic. He told us the car was toast, and that it would take him two months to fix it. After assessing the car’s situation we realized it would be best to buy another vehicle and sell our current car when it was fixed. We had already dumped quite a bit of money into trying to keep it running and now had no transportation for 2 months.
After getting things settled with the mechanic, we left our car in the town of Mbale, spent the night there and hopped on the bus the next morning. The bus had limited space so the 9 of us shared 5 seats. We arrived in Kampala after 6 hrs on the bus. Once we arrived in Kampala the bus got stuck in traffic and decided to let its passengers disembark. Kristi and a couple of the boys hopped off, and as Nevaeh was getting off, the driver decided to hit the gas, throwing Nevaeh out of the bus, halfway onto the curb and halfway under the bus. I (Kenneth) tried to jump out of the bus after her, but one of the bus workers grabbed me around the neck because the bus was still moving. I freed myself from his grip, pushed him against the driver and jumped out. By then the crowd had pulled Vaeh to safety. Monks and Akelo Rikot managed to get off safely after me.
After our bus incident we hopped in a taxi and traveled to a house we had reserved in Kampala. We made it to the house, and there was nothing there; no linens, towels, toilet paper, nothing. We called another taxi and went to a guesthouse we usually stay at and were happy to finally be done with our trip.
There are a few things that we really sensed God speaking to us in the midst of this. Prayers are more often than not, not supposed to take away the pain and problems in our lives. They are often about God sustaining us through his grace and strength in the midst of our situations. When Kristi and I reflect on many of the toughest situations in our lives, we see God’s grace at work sustaining us with strength and encouragement. Thank you for your prayers. One thing that has made this all so difficult for us is that we’ve taken a young six year old girl into our home who is sick and cannot speak our language, not a word (more on this in the next blog). It has been difficult trying to set boundaries, teach simple hygiene, communicate, etc. In the midst of adjusting to this girl in our lives and all the difficulties surrounding it, I am reminded of a portion of I Cor. 13. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
We pray that God will fill your lives and our lives with love and that those around us will be changed through knowing Christ.